Today at noon, the Charlie Crist campaign attempted to show exactly what kind of business it meant when it chose (or HE chose) Annette Taddeo as his running mate. Taddeo, joined by Planned Parenthood PAC treasurer Barbara Zdravecky (Planned Parenthood's political arm has endorsed Crist), hosted a press call to highlight and answer questions about a new television advertisement that is reportedly going up today. The ad is called "Extreme," and, honestly, it's about the strongest pro-women political ad we remember seeing in Florida politics, so good on them. Wanna see it? Here it is:
Taddeo and Zdravecky both came out swinging with obviously prepared speeches – that's what conference calls are for in the beginning – enumerating Crist's lady priorities and defending an endorsement, respectively. "We need a governor who will protect Roe v. Wade, and that governor is Charlie Crist," Taddeo said, before listing other hopeful promises: an executive order for equal pay, protecting a woman's right to choose and, perhaps most importantly, fighting for Medicaid expansion. "This is an issue that we are going to discuss a lot until the election," she said. Hooray! It needs to be discussed more!
Zdravecky picked up the torch, saying that as a single mother herself, watching Scott cut women's healthcare budgets across the board – all the way down to STDs (did you know that Florida has the most women with AIDS?) – was terrible. She referenced Scott's signing of the mandatory ultrasound bill while simultaneously cutting funding for preventative or nursing care. "[Scott] put his own political agenda over the needs of women," she said.
But the political-reporter shark tank wasn't necessarily convinced on the party line. Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo "put on [his] thinking cap" to ask what everybody was thinking: The pushback is likely going to come from the Scott campaign on the issue of Crist's pro-life/pro-choice flip-flop. (Remember those robocalls?) There was certainly some stammering (and further piling on by other reporters), but the general consensus from the pro-Crist camp was that Charlie might have his personal beliefs, but he doesn't want to inflict them on women's bodies. This, they said, was proven by his vetoing of the mandatory ultrasound bill when he was in office. Caputo also called into question the "executive order" for equal pay component, saying it was already in statute. Taddeo fought back, reminding Caputo that women still make 83 cents on the dollar compared to men in the state of Florida, so the order would encourage further enforcement, at least with state contracts. Some more noise was made involving Scott's fighting the birth-control mandate in the ACA and tacit acceptance of the Hobby Lobby ruling, but more substantial evidence of Scott's position on the birth control issue would have to wait for the time being, a Crist flack said.
All told, it's a strong move from Crist, one that doesn't coat itself in the usual soft-focus to match Crist's moderate musings. If we're going to talk about women's rights, let's at least be comfortable SAYING "abortion," OK? Well done.